Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
student visas

Criticism as international students told to enroll in a course to extend their visas

The Department of Justice has said that they will take a pragmatic approach to the situation.

A REPRESENTATIVE BODY for international students in Ireland has criticised the Department of Justice for telling people studying English to pay for a course so they can extend their visas.

Laura Harmon of the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) said the move unfair and called on the department to review the advice.

The advice from the Department was to foreign language students studying in Ireland who have expiring visas.

To enable them to stay in the country they must pay for a 25-week course irrespective of whether they can complete it or not.

“While we welcome the decision by the Department of Justice to extend international students’ visas until 20 September 2021, we feel it is extremely unfair that many English language students will be forced to pay for classes they will be unable to attend.

“Given the financial strain that students are under as a result of the pandemic, it seems highly unfair, for example, that a person whose visa expires on the 20 July must enrol in a 25-week course when they can only avail of 9-10 weeks, and in addition to this, they are expected to pay €300 to renew their permission,” Harmon said.

ICOS is calling on the Department of Justice to reconsider its position and said that it “needlessly penalises students” whose visas will expire in the summer months.

The group has said a fairer approach would be to allow students to enrol in an English language course in accordance with the number of weeks remaining on their visa and for any renewal fee to be waived.

“The information on the INIS website must be clearly displayed and in a language that non-native English speakers can expect to understand as ICOS continues to receive dozens of emails from international students who are unsure about the visa extension, or what they must do to renew, which is partly due to the confusing nature of immigration’s website,” Harmon added.

In response to a query by The Journal, the Department of Justice said that they understood the impact on members of the public including international students.

“The Department recognises the difficulties that Covid-19 has had on everyone in the country, including our international student population. From the outset of the pandemic, we have worked to provide assistance and assurance to people who use our immigration services.

“Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, immigration permissions have been extended, on seven occasions, until 20 September 2021.

“If a student’s immigration permission expires during the Summer months, they can enrol on another 25 week English language course and register their permission to be in the State. This currently will allow them to remain in the State until 20 September, however, each case will be assessed on its individual merits and a pragmatic approach will be adopted,” the statement read.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel